A Simple Way to Make a Panel.
I’m probably like a lot of other people ,,, I rush to get the thing working and always mean to go back and paint and sign-write the panel ,, well I never do ,, but here’s a cunning trick.
Although there are similar ways out there ,,, I haven’t seen a way that is exactly the same as this.
I’ve used it for years and it produces a very durable panel front.
I’ve used it on aluminum, plastic, tin and smoothly painted MDF.
For this demo , I’ve used a piece of plastic electrical duct cover. ( I “fell” upon heaps of it )
Turn this ,,,,
Into this ,,,,,
With M$ word (or something else that has option for RULERS on the page) draw out what you want ,, make the background BIGGER than what is needed.
The only thing that is a bit “tricky” is getting the measurements of the hardware and translating that to the ruler “positions” on the form.
Another option is to actually use a genuine picture of the unit you plan to “copy” so it’s all done for you. (You could ‘fudge’ out the knobs etc)
In the past I have used a mixture of TinyCad and M$word ,,, just use what your comfortable with. The best would be a CAD/Paint type of program.
What you need is a program that when you open a completed file ,, you can move ANY bit so you can make final adjustments if need be.
Be mindful of the “page setup” options with what ever program you are going to use. (It can distort things)
Here is what I drew ,,, (Not very imaginative but I’m actually not going to use this ,,, it’s for a “project”)
Then I printed it out on LABEL PAPER.
Label paper is available at stationary shops in various forms. It normally states on the pack how many labels per A4 sheet that it is made for.
It has a sticky back and after printing ,, you peel off the back and stick it to what-ever you want to.
I used A4 …. 1 label per page. (The whole A4 page is 1 label)
So I print it out onto the label paper ,,,,
Then I put it into an A4 laminating pouch ,,,,,
Laminate it ,,,,,
Trim it roughly to OVER-SIZE ,,,,,
In this “demo” I couldn’t remove the LCD so I had to cut it out first ,, cut it so the hole is too small and put wee “nicks” to the corners.
Peel off the back laminate complete with the back protector of the sticky label.
What you are left with is the front laminate layer and the printed sheet which now has an exposed sticky back ,,,,
Place carefully onto the blank panel and rub out any bubbles toward the edge.
Trim off the excess neatly ,,,,
Cut out any holes that are covered ,,,,
Paint the edges with similar colored paint or felt pen.
Replace any hardware and your done !!!!!
Summing up ,,
Well there you have it ,, a real simple way to make a good looking panel.
Mind you ,, don’t judge it by my efforts above ,,, I done all this in a hell of a hurry and it will never actually go into a sim ,, also taking pictures thru laminate seems to make it look dull and splotchy ,,, well, in real life ,, they are not ,,, they look great.
You can make really neat looking stuff this way using a bit more of an artistic skill ,, also remember the option to actually use a picture as the back-ground.
Dated 10 Feb 2012