Thursday, June 12, 2014

Panel labeling

One of the tricky parts of many projects is labeling the controls or buttons on your front panel. A new way I've been trying out is using rub-on dry transfer letters. Basically you get a transparent sheet of paper with letters and numbers on it and you transfer them to your panel (can be pretty much any material, including painted surfaces) by rubbing them. You can get tons of different fonts and font sizes, and even symbols. I got a few sheets of it off ebay for about $10. Here is a picture of it and the bamboo skewer I use to rub them on. They recommend using a pencil, but the skewer seems to work well.

The project I'm working on right now is the remote control panel for my engine driven welder, here is a picture of what I started with:
And here it is with the letters applied:
The letters stay on pretty well by themselves but for something like this where it will be exposed to abrasion I decided to put a clearcoat over it, in this case I'm using rustoleum clear enamel.  I'd recommend testing what you're using to put over it, because I originally tried rustoleum rust inhibitor designed for metal and after it dried the letters just rubbed off.
Here is the panel with the enamel and the switches installed:

Here is another example I made for my air compressor.  Some of the longer words can be tricky, you can see I didn't quite line up the letters in "overheat".

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