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Author Topic: My best panel labeling method so far  (Read 5925 times)
K0IZ
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« on: November 02, 2011, 06:19:25 PM »

I was rebuilding a small unit.  The original homebrew unit used rub-on dry transfer lettering, which looked pretty good.  I saw some suggestions recently (maybe here, don't recall), so decided to try something new (at least new for me).  The box was a Ten Tec, with front and back panels about 1 7/8 high by 8" wide. 

I drilled the front and back panels for controls and jacks.  Then, using Microsoft Word, created my text.  Used Arial Bold, 12pt (mostly).  Some in color.  Then printed copy and compared with panel holes.  I did this several times until text lined up with holes.  Then printed on some heavier glossy (photo type) paper.

I trimmed the top and left side to fit the panel (front, or back, whichever I was working on).  Then sprayed panel with Scotch 77 spray adhesive.  Used three light coats, plus some masking tape behind holes and at sides to avoid overspray.

Then CAREFULLY aligned paper at left and top, and pressed down.  Since my panels were less than 2" high, I then applied some 2" clear packing tape over paper.  (for larger panels you can buy clear adhesive sheets).  Then trimmed right and bottom sides with razor blade.  Cut holes for controls and jacks through paper with xacto knife.

Final results were very professional, if I do say myself.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 09:09:48 PM »

Panel labeling has always been an elusive final touch for my projects.  The last thing that I have tried and now use is a program called Visio.  This is basically the same procedure you're using.

However, I learned something that made things much easier.

I laid out the panel with the control positions, labels,etc., first, BEFORE drilling the panel.  Drilling the panel and then making the front panel label always left me with misalignment's.

But, creating the label first and then using a copy to lay out the panel then when you go to apply the panel label, using the spray on contact cement, everything is in alignment.

A visit to a craft store will turn up heavy paper in a multitudes of colors and even textures to make your panel labels from. 
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K0WA
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 08:07:46 AM »

This is a good way of making front panels.  I take a little different approach.  I use MS publisher to make the front panel with all the lettering and then I used a background (battleship gray) or "light black").  The printout is the same exact size as the front I am working with.  I then print it out on high quality photo paper.  Then I carefully cut the holes using an razor knife and glue the thick photo paper to the front of the box.

The other way I do it...I have been working on a Knight V44 VFO which the front panel was dinged up.  So, I made a scan of the front panel and used Photoshop (you could also use the free program called GIMP) and dressed up the image.  Making the whites whiter and the grays grayer.  Takes quite a bit of time, but you get a nice front panel image.  Print it out on photo stock...and then OVERLAY the photo on the original panel.  No glue.  Works well.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 09:06:48 AM »

One small problem I haven't been able to resolve.... and that's how to protect the new panel label.

I have to use an inkjet printer which doesn't permit a spray on lacquer because it will cause the ink to bleed.

I've considered laminating the new label first but the closest laminating facility I know of is at least 60 miles from here.

However, since I make a point in not putting my grungy fingers on ANY panel it hasn't been a problem but would like to give it this final touch though.

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KG4RUL
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 09:50:17 AM »

One small problem I haven't been able to resolve.... and that's how to protect the new panel label.

I have to use an inkjet printer which doesn't permit a spray on lacquer because it will cause the ink to bleed.

I've considered laminating the new label first but the closest laminating facility I know of is at least 60 miles from here.

However, since I make a point in not putting my grungy fingers on ANY panel it hasn't been a problem but would like to give it this final touch though.



Try Avery Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets  LS10P 73603
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KC9KEP
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 01:31:37 PM »

One word of caution when using a printer.

Printers are frequently *not* perfectly linear.

I've got bit on this before, both when creating front panels and
years back when creating PC board photo masks by using a printer.

The difference may be small (maybe 1/16" inch across a panel)
but it can gitcha!

--KC9KEP
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K0IZ
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 07:42:26 PM »

OfficeMax does laminating, might be one near you.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 10:10:23 PM »

Quote
Try Avery Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets  LS10P 73603

Will try to locate these.  Thanks.  Will no doubt have to order them online.

Closest Office Max to me is 60 miles.  Where I live we're fortunate to have a McDonalds and a Burger King!
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W4HIJ
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 04:12:16 PM »

I'd like a black panel with white lettering. Any thoughts on making a printer print a negative image? I used to do this easily with as simple a program as "Paint" but I haven't figured out how to do it under Windows 7.  I don't own any word processor or fancy graphic programs so if anyone knows a way to do it with a "freebie" that would be ideal.
Tnx,
Michael, W4HIJ
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K0IZ
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2011, 08:03:57 PM »

Michael, my Paint Shop Pro will make a negative image.  Perhaps that might be a way to make white on black?
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WI4P
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2011, 03:29:50 PM »

Wal-Mart and most office supply stores will have the self laminating sheets.
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KB2CPW
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 07:54:56 PM »


  There is a trick to laying clear over inkjet or other printer work, dust the sheet several times with the clearing agent from a distance you want to use and allow it to fully dry each time, this will lock in the print under the clear without disturbing it. Once it is covered, then you can lay on the final coat for the shine or even finish. With some practice this will work.

  There are some printers that do excellent panel decals, but they are for the serious hobbist. The Alps MD series of printers (later licensed to Oki) used to do excellent decals onto those water transfer sheets. The MD 5000 was "The Shiznit" of label and decal making.

  You can buy the water transfer sheets and maybe experiment with a Laser Printer, then just clear over those. I use a Laser Printer to do PC board layouts and you can iron on the ink from the printers to the boards, this should work on unpainted project faces as well with a little care. Then dust clear it like I mentioned before. Regards, Richy N2ZD
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