Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

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mthornton
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Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by mthornton » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:30 pm

I'm working on a project where I want to make a real nice professional front-panel, for a prototype run of 100. I'm wondering what experience anyone might have using a laser-printer to print on clear plastic-film.

I have a small window for a 4 digit 7-seg display that I want covered by the same film as a clear window.

I have a single tact button, for which the actuator head just protrudes, and I want this covered by the plastic film. maybe a metal-dome for the tact-switch (if I can find a source)

A photo of the project, as it presently exists is at www.mountainelectric.ca

I would like to hear whatever help and experience might be out there.
M

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Dave Dixon
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Dave Dixon » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:00 am

I've tried Chartpak's D&DAF (Drafting and Design Applique Film) with "some" success. I used their DAF8-10. I think my surfaces weren't smooth enough, so got a few bubbles, and the edges lifted a little as well. Maybe user error though! You should at least check out their product line for some ideas! Best of luck, Dave

Engineer1138
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Engineer1138 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:41 am

I have used Avery matte finish clear laser label stock from Office Depot. But I think that if I were making 100+ of something, I'd go to a small print shop and see how much they charge to print on polycarbonate (Lexan) film. Lexan will hold up much better and printer ink looks better than toner.

Alternate idea: is there an art school nearby? Print artists do this kind of stuff and students are always looking for a way to make a few extra bucks.

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Bob Scott
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Bob Scott » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:27 pm

Make your graphics mirror image. That way you can have the graphics on the inside surface of the clear sheet where they won't rub off.
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

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Dave Dixon
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Dave Dixon » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:42 am

Good advice Bob, That is the way I did mine, but forgot to mention it! TNX

I love your signature Bob! I just bought my wife this shirt the other day.... she feels the same way about Pluto (she's a High School Science Teacher!)...
http://shirt.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=8730

mthornton
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by mthornton » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:06 pm

Well, I spent a rainy day today trying various approaches to making an acceptable fron panel. I tried in vain to get my HP laser printer to mirror print (it doesn't). However, in the course of reading literature on how laser printers work, I discovered how to make the thing produce a very tough front-side finish, while printing on standard HP laser transparency film, by defining the paper type as "label". The result was far superior to the self-adhesive label transparency (Avery). Excellent colour rendition & very professional looking. An excellent crystal-clear window for the display.

I was also able to produce a very reasonable blister for the tact-switch, by simply using a ball-point pen circled around through the switch-side of the switch hole. Some gentle pressure, a few seconds of making a circular motion, and I have a nice usable switch blister.

My front panel is molded from Smooth-On Smooth-cast 300, and I was able to get excellent cohesion between the front panel & the label using brush-on super-glue. However I will try sending away for some spray-on adhesive.

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Bob Scott
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Bob Scott » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:31 am

mthornton wrote:Well, I spent a rainy day today trying various approaches to making an acceptable front panel. I tried in vain to get my HP laser printer to mirror print (it doesn't).
Oh-Oh. Take a screen shot of the label with <SHF>PrintScreen. Paste that into the paint program. Then you can flip it. I think you can flip text in WordArt too by dragging the left side over the right side.
My front panel is molded from Smooth-On Smooth-cast 300, and I was able to get excellent cohesion between the front panel & the label using brush-on super-glue. However I will try sending away for some spray-on adhesive.
I just used epoxy. You can squish it really thin so it's invisible.
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

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Dave Dixon
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Re: Front-panel laser-printed plastic film. advice pls

Post by Dave Dixon » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:22 pm

Thanks for taking the time for a follow-up! Many times (myself included) we ask a question, get some help, get on a roll, and forget to let everyone else know what worked the best - which is obviously great for the forum. Glad you are up and running!

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