A new way to produce lettered front panels

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Bill Wilson
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:45 am

A new way to produce lettered front panels

Post by Bill Wilson » Wed May 30, 2018 4:12 pm

My local sign shop in the Tampa Bay area, introduced me to a company by the name of "Rowmark". They produce plastic sign material in both 1/32" & 1/16" thickness. The material comes in many different colors & is laser engraveable. Wayne asked me to share this method after seeing the results.
You can choose your color & have either black or white lettering, when engraved. It is a lot cheaper than panel express & can be done by a local laser engraver.

I am manufacturing a very high quality headphone amplifier & wanted a very professional looking front panel. I use a 0.90 thick aluminum front panel & they apply the plastic overlay using a double sided adhesive sheet made by 3M. The material may be drilled & worked after being adhered. I am going to drill the holes for controls etc. after the plastic overlay has been applied.
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mediatechnology
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Re: A new way to produce lettered front panels

Post by mediatechnology » Wed May 30, 2018 5:15 pm

Really nice looking! Thank you for sharing Bill.

So I'm guessing that you do a file for the front panel and then submit that to the sign shop to laser-engrave?

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JR.
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Re: A new way to produce lettered front panels

Post by JR. » Thu May 31, 2018 1:00 pm

I use a back printed plastic faceplate/overlay for my drum tuner, that is captured in slots in the injection molded plastic clamshell package.
Image

I use dome switches behind the faceplate, and have clear sections for the colored LEDs to shine through. Not very cheap and lots of back and forth to get the design tooling right, so I wouldn't try this for low volume, but finished piece looks good (IMO).

It seems at some point we will probably print these from our home computer with laser printers on plastic film stock. Mine was likely done on a big dog commercial printer.

JR

Bill Wilson
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:45 am

Re: A new way to produce lettered front panels

Post by Bill Wilson » Thu May 31, 2018 1:20 pm

For my initial front panel overlay, I used MS Word to print the lettering; also had to figure the placement of the controls. Then used a program named "Zamzar" to convert the file to one accepted by the sign shop.

Now I am doing each control separately using 1. print, 2. cut & paste. Next take to the sign shop & have them scan into their computer in the proper format. The control lettering is then put in its correct location on the panel. Using cut & paste permits getting accurate spacing; just remember to use white out on the edges of each pasted item; otherwise you can get a shadow on the edges.

Bill Wilson

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